Chinmaya International Foundation is located at the sacred birthplace of Adi Sankaracharya the great philosopher, saint and the exponent of Advaita Vedanta. This home of Aryamba, his holy mother, is located in Veliyanad at Edakkattuvayal Village in Ernakulam District, Kerala, India.
It is believed that Sri Sankara's Upanayanam (thread ceremony in boyhood, marking entry into the stage of student hood or Brahmacharya) was conducted here. Known traditionally as 'Melpazhur Mana', this place has been fittingly renamed by Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda as Adi Sankara Nilayam.
This ancient Nambudri Family home’s Nalukettu (four winged structure), is an excellent example of the splendid architectural style of old Kerala, in which structural strength is admirably blended with practical utility and artistic workmanship. Even after centuries, the exquisite wooden panelling and engraving endures, bearing eloquent testimony to the keen craftsmanship of ancient days.
This sprawling Nalukettu stands on an 8.3 acre plot of land amidst luxuriant sun blessed greenery, a water pond and a temple complex with the shrines of Shree Ayyappa, Shree Rama, Shree Krishna, Vettakkorumagan (Kirata Shiva, the family deity of Melpazhur Mana), Nagayakshi and Bhagavati.
The four-winged Mana was originally an eight-winged structure (Ettukettu – with four inner wings and four outer wings). Even though downsized, it continues to exude the spiritual glory and affluence of old. It is in the eastern wing that houses the sacred room where Adi Shankara is said to have been born. In this sacred birth room of Adi Shankara is a traditional lamp that stays lit before the beautiful picture of Adi Shankara all the year around, without a break (nityajyoti), diffusing an aura of divinity.
And in this auspicious and uplifting environ – with the sacred birth room of Sri Sankara as the core, enveloped by the ancient shrines including the Mana’s family deity Kirata Shiva that stands the meditation hall, a memorial built in memory of our Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda.